Sea of hands greets His Majesty
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam was given a warm welcome by the residents of the Tutong District yesterday morning during the greet and meet session held at the Tutong Community Complex field to celebrate the ruler's 64th birthday.
In greeting the monarch upon his arrival, school students waved the bright colours of the national flag as a symbol of their respect and loyalty to both king and country.
After the cancellation of last year's birthday celebrations due to the H1N1(Influenza A) scare, the residents were happy to be reunited with the benevolent king and couldn't wait to show their appreciation.
Accompanying His Majesty to the event was His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik.
Tutong Acting District Officer Hj Muhammad Suffian Hj Bungsu in his welcoming remarks conveyed the people's appreciation for the monarch as well as expressed their warm wishes on the occasion of the monarch's birthday.
He also informed His Majesty that the line-up of the day's performances were a combination of talents and efforts of some 300 people comprising members of the Village and Mukim Consultative Council, government officers and staff, students, as well as representatives from the indigenous groups residing in Tutong.
The figures did not include the estimated 9,000 representatives from the different mukims in Tutong, youth associations, corporate and businesses, special children, Tiong Hua community, school students as well as personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces who were waiting to greet His Majesty from the shade of the tents surrounding the main stage.
Out of the three segments of choir performances was lead singer Hjh Siti Normaya Murni, a Tutong resident teaching at Sufri Bolkiah Secondary School."I felt so excited to be singing in front of our beloved leader and my residents and I hope to be included in this celebration again next year, Insyallah," she said, adding that this was not her first time singing in front of the monarch.
She added: "I have been singing since I was 10, and as a citizen, I really am proud to be able to sing for my ruler."
After two and half years of working in Brunei, Gabriel Bacirea from Edmonton, Canada said that he brought his friends from Romania to witness the significant event.
"It's my first time and the performances have just been so unbelievable!"he exclaimed.
He added: "It's really really amazing. You can really see how the citizens here love and care for His Majesty."
Also taking part in the mass dance performance was Hj Mohammad Nuralif, a 15-year-old student from Mahad Islam Brunei, who participated in the hadrah welcoming His Majesty as well as the main performance.
Accompanying the choir were dancers dressed in white chiffon and pink sashes swaying to the melody and the beat of the traditional music.
Immediately after the stage performance, His Majesty and the royal family made their way to the 15 tents to meet and greet the people.
Out of the thousands who turned up for such an opportunity, Hjh Norhayati Md Tamin, a resident of Mukim Tanjong Maya did not only manage to shake hands with His Majesty but also had a framed news clip signed by the monarch.
When The Brunei Times interviewed her, Hjh Norhayati was all smiles and revealed that she had been waiting for that moment since first meeting His Majesty in person when he visited her house which was affected by the flash floods in early 2009.
The story and picture of the visit appeared in one of the country's Malay newspapers.
"Syukur alhamdulillah. His Majesty looked at the article and read it before signing. My bones were shaking because I was nervous but I managed to pass him a note," she said.
The Brunei Times